• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Unspoken Problem With the Tamir Rice Killing

In all the justified anger that another black was murdered by a cop–and a black CHILD at that–one element in this particular situation seems to have been ignored by everybody.  Last night, as I watched Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, I saw that it was no more a factor in her discussion than the account by Black Agenda Report, which said of the shooting, “This case has received national and international attention because it exposes the depraved nature of police brutality in occupied African-American communities.”

This is absolutely right, of course.  The war by police on Black Americans is a continuation of the war on former black slaves in the post bellum South, when unfortunate young black men, Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit,” were strung up with utter impunity by whites in hoods and sheets.  None of us who saw it can ever forget the face of Emmett Till in his coffin.

But, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” as the French say, and the UNADDRESSED problem now is the fact that Tamir Rice had a TOY gun in his hand.

Guns are not toys.  They are deadly weapons designed for a sole purpose:  to hurt and to kill.   Real guns require some level of training to be used properly, and many, if not most, Americans think they should be kept out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals, of the latter, a problem akin to the proverbial “belling the cat.”

Giving a child a TOY gun is little different from putting him in front of a video game that enables him to play at killing people for hours on end, with no caution that this fantasy should not be carried over into real life.  Perhaps the parents who undoubtedly pay for the toy weapon, or the video games, admonish him (or her) about that, but I wonder if it is very many:  “Son, do you realize that with a real gun, you could really hurt your friend, or that somebody might actually die for a gunshot wound?” Or, to make the idea real, they take him on a “field trip” to a morgue and actually show him a gunshot victim:  “Son, in real life, if you shot somebody, this is what it would look like.” (I say, “Son,” because guns are often a symbol of masculinity, and girls are less likely to be involved in owning either a toy or the real thing.)  Of course, growing up in the inner city, a child may, in fact, have seen gun violence first hand, but it is a fair question whether or not anybody around him or her took the time even to deal with his feelings about it, let alone use it as an object lesson about the dangers of guns.

In any case, I am no more confident that white parents say these things than black parents.  But, minorities and whites are all members of this society, and as somebody once said, “culture” is what gets passed on to your children.  If that is the case, then surely the act of putting a toy gun into the hands of a child is an introduction to the American Culture of Random Violence.

Playing with guns, and playing video games about shooting people, instills a sense of unreality into these weapons that may be part of the problem of the explosion of “gun violence” in America.  I have always thought that the idea of simply regulating the real thing was far too simplistic an approach to the complex social dysfunction that “gun violence” really represents.

Individuals in rural areas like Louisiana hunt in order to eat, and those who live in the inner city justifiably feel they need to have guns in self defense to protect themselves from the depredations of gangs and drug dealers. Okay.  Let adults have real weapons and ammunition, which they must keep out of the hands of children, and let them be trained to use those weapons properly.  Having a gun may only “up the ante,” though, and exacerbate the problem, making the innocent holder of the weapon a threat and a moving target for criminal gun-owners or anyone else.

It doesn’t even have to be a real gun for that to happen.  Possession of anything that looks like a gun can easily enable a cop to “shoot first and ask questions later,” as this tragedy makes all too clear.

By the way, to give a child a gun–toy or otherwise–on the day that we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace seems an oxymoron that only gives oxygen to morons.

Either that, or it simply is basic training for participation by the poor of all races in the Wars for Empire led by the war-mongers who run this country, and an important part of the preparation for killing Third World peoples with impunity.

More articles by:

Romi Elnagar is a California-born convert (revert) to Islam, and a retired schoolteacher-librarian in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  She worked in anti-war campaigns in the late sixties, and for the United Farmworkers Union. Her email address is montereypinegreen@yahoo.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
stclair
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail